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Budget-friendly updates to add value to your home


Image courtesy of Open Design Studio

If you’ve recently bought your own home, your hip pocket is likely to be feeling the burn. Your wallet may be a little light, but no doubt you’re home obsessed and looking at ways to make your place even better. We checked in with the experts to find budget-friendly ways to update your home and make it look luxe.

Bathroom basics

There isn’t a space more likely to strike fear into the hearts of new homeowners than the bathroom. Often a room that ages a home by at least 10 years, the bathroom is also one of the most expensive to refresh. But how can you get it looking flush, or flash, on a budget? Well, if you’re not quite ready to spend a whole lot of money, there are updates that can breathe new life into your space. "Refreshing the grout and silicone on your bathroom tiles will totally update your bathroom and it's a job you can tackle on the weekend," says builder Ben Hannah of Hannah & Hearn Constructions. "Silicone perishes over time and grout can get really mouldy, plus, update this element and you'll help small bathroom leaks. Your local hardware store will have everything you need. It's a really easy way to get rid of a dated detail and add value to your space." And if the fittings and fixtures are on the bad side of vintage, replacing them will change up the look. "Updating the fixtures and fittings, such as taps, spouts, shower rose and vanity will update your space completely without needing a total renovation," says Ben. "It will bring your bathroom into the look of the moment, but I suggest avoiding trends and choosing pieces that will look timeless."

Image courtesy of Open Design Studio

Storage, storage, storage

Let’s be honest, every home could use more storage and custom storage is something that can get pretty expensive (but adds serious value). But don’t despair – there are ways to update your storage without blowing the budget. Find smart ways to balance big-ticket items with budget-friendly details. “When designing joinery such as wardrobes or built-in shelving, you can interchange some of the shelf items with the designs,” says interior designer Sally Caroline of Open Design Studio. “Purchasing budget-smart drawers and slotting them into a custom-built alcove allows you to have the look of beautiful bespoke solutions with affordable joinery.” You can also buy affordable furniture and customise it with handles, legs and doors, adding a designer look to a budget-friendly piece. Having adequate storage also keeps your spaces from looking cluttered, which has a huge impact on the overall feel of your home

From the ground up

The first step inside your home can give away a little too much about just how many people have walked through the door. Tired floors can be an immediate style sapper, but happily it’s something you can fix without going all out on a renovation. "Flooring can have a massive impact on the look and feel of a home,” says Ben. If you're not quite ready to go do a full renovation, but want a smart look, updating your home from the ground up is my advice. Whether you're more into the look and feel of timber or carpet, there are so many options that will cater to your budget." Sally lists flooring as one of the easiest ways to add value. “Reviewing your flooring will get rid of the sense of dullness an old carpet or worn timber floors give off.”

Image courtesy of Open Design Studio

Tile style

From the floor, to the walls, your bathroom’s tiles can make a huge difference. So, perhaps you can’t rip all those beige tiles off, but why not focus on one wall if your space is really desperate? “A trick we often use is to contrast feature materials such as marble with an affordable material such as a ceramic tile,” says Sally. Perhaps at this stage, you can pick out a super-cheap tile option that offers a fresher, cleaner look than those dated brown tiles. They’ll do for now, right? Keep in mind that you can tile right over the top of old tiles to save money, or even paint over them if you really can’t stand your current tile situation.

Kitchen compromises

So one of you wants to rip out the kitchen completely and the other wants to focus the budget in another direction. If you’re on different pages when it comes to changes in the kitchen, one way to come to a budget-friendly compromise is honing in on one feature to update. "A benchtop is a hardworking element of a hardworking space, so it dates very quickly," says Ben. "Luckily, there's a range of stone surfaces at a reasonable price on the market, so you can add a luxe look for less. Otherwise, an update to the handles on the cabinetry can really change up the look at a minimal cost." This kind of update is a fantastic way to hold off on the big cash splash while still freshening up the hub of your home.

Find a feature

A hero piece can bring new life to an interior, but don’t go thinking that you need to spend big. A bold artwork is a quick fix for drowning out the more tired details of a room, so be bold with your choice to make it the hero of a space. “An eye-catching artwork in your entryway will set a tone for the house to follow,” says Sally. “Paintings can be sourced at the markets – the key is having the eye for the right piece that is strikingly beautiful whilst not demanding a fine art price tag.” Have fun with your choice and don’t get caught up with trends. If you choose something you like, it will complement all the other pieces you have chosen.

Image courtesy of Hannah & Hearn Construction

First impressions

At the end of the day, first impressions do last, so it’s worth paying attention to your home’s facade. Street appeal has a huge impact on the value of a home and often the simplest and easiest updates pay the biggest dividends. "A simple tidy up in the garden will make a huge difference on the overall look of your home,” says Fraser Turvey of McGrath Estate Agents. “Bear in mind that your front garden will be the first thing that people see, so taking care to keep it neat and tidy via weeding and sweeping will make a great first impression and definitely add value to your home." A fresh coat of paint is another simple way to transform a tired home. "It sounds simple, but a fresh coat of paint is the easiest way to freshen up a space (indoors and out) and you can do it all yourself. Just be prepared for what you're getting yourself in for as you'll need to add a few coats and talk to a painter if you can't outlay the time,” says Fraser. If you aren’t keen on taking the DIY route, outsourcing to a couple of tradies can have a huge impact on your property’s value. “In my experience, getting in touch with a handyman, painter and electrician can add so much value to a home," says Fraser. "I've seen interest in a property massively increase after quite basic updates from the above trades."

Disclaimer: This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for legal, personal or accounting advice. Seek your own independent advice before engaging in a transaction.